Here's Why You Need to Start a Drone Program for Your Public Safety Agency

If you’re in law enforcement, you’ll want to read this. 

Drones have been the subject of many controversies. Fortunately, over the years, drones have found homes in various industries. There has been a spike in UAV usage in multiple sectors, and first responders in law enforcement have not been left behind. You’ll find out why this is so shortly. 

You’re probably aware of how drone technology has positively impacted law enforcement, but here’s a brief refresher. 

Hopefully, this article will shed some much-needed light on the importance of having a drone program in law enforcement.


Drones: Police Usage, Funding, and other challenges


There are about 18,000 police departments in the U.S.A, but only about 1200 have incorporated drones into their missions. 

I guess that’s our cue to say mission impossible? No?

Anyway, the police officers using drone technology in their operations are better placed than their counterparts who prefer doing things the old-fashioned way.

So, for those that aren’t using drones, is the issue sourcing for funding or misplaced priorities? They are both problematic, but negative public perception is also another problem that significantly contributes to undermining the use of drone technology in law enforcement.

You see, community support is “of the essence” for a drone program to be successful. Therefore, organizing outreach events to sensitize your community on the importance of drones for public safety could go a long way. Sharing your agency’s drone policies could also help mitigate their privacy concerns.

You can also effectively do community outreach through social media. Remember to involve local organizations in your community, as this may work well in your favor if they opt to fund the program.

Are you looking to initiate the start of a drone program in your police department, but the resources are scarce? 

Besides military surplus transfers and federal grants, police departments in the U.S. have gotten creative and utilized COVID-19 relief funds. Others put to use the civil asset forfeiture funds, but its legality is up for debate.

At the end of the day, the best way to garner financial support for your agency’s program is successful community engagement.

Besides funding, more goes into setting up a fully-fledged drone program, like staffing and training your UAS team. Each unit should have a trained drone pilot on standby for operations to run smoothly.

Nevertheless, drones are still worth your effort, money, and time as their use in law enforcement is in the best interest of everyone’s safety.


Drones in public safety and law enforcement


How Drones are Revolutionizing Law Enforcement Operations


Do the words drone and revolutionary belong in the same sentence? Yes, certainly! 

There are so many other words that also belong alongside UAVs, such as safety, efficiency, and effectiveness. Do you get the drift?

The use of drones in law enforcement has been nothing short of revolutionary. 

Here are some points to back this up.


1. Crime surveillance


Monitoring crime activity has been enhanced by the use of drones. UAVs provide high-resolution imaging with thermal capabilities that are highly effective in tailing potentially dangerous suspects.

Police officers can also use the surveillance footage collected against facial recognition technology to identify wanted suspects quickly.

Brookhaven officers were recently able to apprehend two robbery suspects with the help of a drone. Their runaway vehicle was identified by a license plate reader outside a local pharmacy on Buford highway.

Brookhaven police chief further relayed details on how the events leading to the arrests unfolded during a press release. Only one suspect found outside the pharmacy had been arrested, whereas the other was on the run.

He used the back exit and managed to flee to the woods before they got to him. Plot twist - the suspect was unaware that they were already a step ahead as Brookhaven officers had already deployed a drone to track his movements.

The remote pilot provided continuous updates to his colleagues on the ground, and they were eventually able to bring the suspect to custody. Sounds like a scene from one of your favorite crime thriller movies, right? Except all these happened in real-time.

Drones provide police officers with valuable real-time information for better decision-making to help safeguard the public, their colleagues, and the suspects. However, some states may require you to obtain a surveillance warrant.

The DJI Enterprise drones, particularly the DJI M300 RTK, would exceed your expectations during surveillance operations. It has impressive specs, such as an advanced AI tracking system with obstacle avoidance. What an asset, right? 

Here is more on the enterprise drones: Which DJI Enterprise Drone Do You Need?

But wait, there’s more good stuff … we’re just getting started.


2. Search and rescue


Time is of great importance during search-and-rescue operations, as one’s life may depend on it. 

The good news is that these operations no longer have to be time-consuming with Matrice 30 series drones. The DJI Matrice 30T (M30T) is another enterprise drone you may want to check out. The M30T has an impressive flight time, thermal imaging, and it can be fitted with modular accessories such as speakers and spotlights that fast-track rescue operations. 

Speakers may come in handy if a drone pilot spots a lost juvenile, elder, or any other individual (before his team) by providing some reassurance that help is on the way.

Drones have completely changed the face of these life-saving operations, but a little more reassurance on their importance won’t hurt. 


3. Accident scene reconstruction


Drones have significantly improved the turnaround time of traffic collision reconstructions. 

The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is a perfect candidate that would save your time and money. It offers centimeter-level accuracy since it integrates an RTK module. The UAV accurately accounts for skid marks, debris fields, and other valuable information that aids in accident reconstruction. 

You could check out its other specs here: Is the DJI Phantom 4 RTK Still Worth It in 2022?

Undoubtedly, initiating a drone program in your public safety agency will reconstruct your operations for the better.


4. Fire department support


Police officers and firefighters are known to share department resources. 

Drones provide firefighters with a tactical advantage to respond to situations appropriately. Eventually, everyone is safe, and a disaster is averted. 

The EVO II RTK Series UAS are suitable for firefighting operations. They are equipped with thermal sensors that effectively detect heat signatures. Heat-signature detection is beneficial in pinpointing an unidentified source of a fire.

Some drones even provide you with powerful zooming and night vision capabilities which facilitate nighttime operations. 


5. Event management


Drones provide an extra set of eyes during largely attended festivals like Coachella, Ultra, and Afropunk. 

Although the deployment of patrol officers is helpful, UAVs are more efficient for big crowd management.

Drones with speakers as bolt-on modules - Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced (M2EA) - may be used to de-escalate a fight or identify and get help for revelers who may be lost or in distress. The M300 RTK may also come through for you with its ample flight time of 55 minutes and high zooming capabilities.


6. Interior surveillance


Some drones are specifically designed to fly in the interior or compact spaces. 

SWAT teams could use an extra pair of eyes to ensure the coast is clear. They are first deployed to a crime scene to assess the number of assailants, whether they are armed, and if there are any hostages.

UAVs provide you with the rare option of putting your team’s safety first to significantly reduce the number of casualties and mortalities during such high-risk operations. You probably have a scene in mind from your favorite crime thriller where some of your best characters walked right into a trap. 

Tactical drones, such as the BRINC LEMUR, are some of the best-suited UAVs for indoor operations. Drones help avert unfortunate events as they have revolutionized how law enforcers approach tactical situations. 

The LEMUR, in particular, pushes open ajar doors and can break windows, if necessary, putting the drone in the dangerous situation instead of officers.


7. Natural disaster management


First responders in disaster-prone areas greatly benefit from drones to provide disaster relief to their residents. 

They’re also used to assess the havoc wrecked by natural disasters. Enterprise drones and EVO II RTK Series UAVs have impressive flight times and can be used for disaster response. 


8. City mapping


Last but not least, drones can effortlessly provide you with updated layouts of your city. 

Police departments need to have accurate maps of highly frequented locations in their respective cities. These maps help make before and after comparisons during natural disasters, traffic collisions, and other events.

Drones with centimeter-level positioning accuracy, such as the Autel EVO II RTK Series, the M300 RTK, and the Phantom 4 RTK, are best suited for city mapping.


Best Drones for Law Enforcement Operations


Several factors have to be considered before making a purchase. For instance, if you value portability, check out the DJI M30T or M2EA.

The M30T will ensure your operations run seamlessly regardless of the weather conditions. 

If a powerful drone is all you need and your budget allows it, then the M300 RTK is your best bet as it has incredible tech built-in.

The Phantom 4 RTK and EVO II RTK UAS are somewhat close to M300 RTK’s accuracy with reasonable price points. They are also a good fit if high precision is one of your non-negotiable features.


Advexure’s Demo, Loaner, and Lease Program


Sure, we sell drones here at Advexure. But, did you know we also let public safety agencies test them out?

Advexure works closely with many law-enforcement agencies across the United States, and hosts demo days so departments can test various drones. But, perhaps the best offering available through the company is the demo, loaner, and lease program.

This program allows for public safety agencies to test and evaluate, or short-term lease, platforms or payloads to develop buy-in and budget from powers-that-be to expand UAS usage in their respective programs.

Essentially, you work with us to see which drone is best for you and your uses by trying before buying.


Brings Drones to Your Public Safety Agency


So, are you set on the drones that will help get your public safety agency’s or police department’s drone program started? If you’re still unsure, we’re here to help.

Our team at Advexure will help you get expert-level advice to map out a strategy that best suits your needs. Connect with us today for training, support, or any other of your UAS needs.

Just open the chat box or click here to get started.